Banking shares slump on leaked documents

The FinCEN document leaks reveals that over RM20m was received by the banks, while RM55m had gone out

by ASILA JALIL / pic by BLOOMBERG

THE share prices of two top local banks slid after news on leaked documents regarding 23 transactions involving Malaysian banks that were labelled “suspicious” by US banks surfaced yesterday.

The Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) document leaks revealed that over US$4.88 million (RM20 million) was received by the banks, while US$13.38 million (RM55 million) had gone out.

According to the document, Public Bank Bhd had the lion’s share of the illicit transactions sent which amounted to US$13.37 million in seven transactions, followed by OCBC Bank (M) Bhd at US$10,100 million.

Public Bank, the second-largest bank in the country, saw a 1.63% or 26 sen decline in its share price to close at RM15.68 yesterday versus RM15.94 last Friday.

Its market capitalisation fell 1.6% or RM1.01 billion to RM60.87 billion yesterday from RM61.88 billion on its previous close.

AMMB Holdings Bhd, which topped the list of suspicious tran sactions received amounting to US$2.9 million in two transactions, maintained its share price which closed at RM3.01 yesterday, valued at RM9.06 billion. Another bank that saw a drop in its value is CIMB Group Holdings Bhd as its share price dropped 1.27% or four sen to close at RM3.12 compared to RM3.16 last Friday.

The market cap of the lender dropped 1.3% or RM400 million to RM30.96 billion from RM31.36 billion.

Shares for Alliance Bank Malaysia Bhd, however, increased 1.37% or three sen to close at RM2.22 yesterday, valuing the bank at RM3.44 billion.

The amount received by the bank in dubious transactions stood at US$462,378. Other banks involved included HSBC Bank Malaysia Bhd, United Overseas Bank (M) Bhd and Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia (StanChart).

Bank Negara Malaysia has yet to comment on the matter, while OCBC Bank refused to comment on the report when contacted by The Malaysian Reserve.

Due to the illicit transactions, HSBC and StanChart’s Hong Kong shares also slipped to its lowest level yesterday.

According to Channel News Asia, HSBC’s shares dropped 5.33% to close at HK$29.30 (RM15.60), a level last seen in mid-1995, while StanChart’s shares plunged 6.18% to close at HK$34.90.

The 23 illicit transactions involved the local banks’ overseas accounts in countries such as the US, Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates, Poland and Latvia.

Meanwhile, the leaks also revealed that 27 banks were flagged in transactions that involved fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, or Jho Low, between 2009 and 2016.

It included eight Suspicious Activity Reports involving 103 transactions worth US$2.53 billion.